Home Care Providers, Brace Yourselves for More Hits in 2022

Posted Saturday, April 30, 2022 

By Liza Berger, McKnights Home Care

It would be an understatement to say that 2022 has not been an easy year for home care providers. Unfortunately, things may get even tougher.

I’m talking about an impending regulation on many people’s minds — the home health proposed rule, which is due out around June.

Some signs point to a marginal increase in Medicare payments to home health providers. If the hospice proposed rule is any kind of bellwether, there will be an increase, but it certainly won’t keep up with the strong inflationary pressures home health providers have been dealing with of late. How the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will handle payment around the Patient-Driven Groupings Model also remains to be seen. In last year’s final rule, as you may remember, CMS continued a 4.3% behavioral rate cut adjustment related to PDGM.

Bill Dombi, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice — and generally glass-half-full person, was not very upbeat about the fate of other regulatory and legislative challenges last week. During a webinar that NAHC hosted, he said he did not expect Congress will halt Medicare sequestration cuts, which began at the beginning of April.

And he was not particularly hopeful about passage of the much-touted Build Back Better bill. At least, that is, the signature piece of it for home care — $150 billion for home- and community- based services.

There, of course, are other trouble spots. The spike in gas prices has proven to be another blow to home care agencies in 2022. It seems almost fitting that it has accompanied the war in Ukraine, which effectively pushed BBB off of lawmakers’ radars. And the high gas prices, of course, come on top of a crippling workforce shortage that the pandemic helped to usher into post-acute care.

No, these times are not for the weak-willed. Providers would be wise to brace themselves for a rough road ahead. But remember: This too shall pass.

Source: McKnights Health Care

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